The John Roberts Houses of Burlington, VT

You might be wondering what the John Roberts houses are, as I’ve recently posted a few shots from around Burlington, VT. Good question, and it’s about time I gave you some additional information.

Peering over the picket fence at a John Roberts house in the Old North End of Burlington. #presinpink

A photo posted by Preservation in Pink / Kaitlin (@presinpink) on

John Roberts was a builder in Burlington, VT who constructed many Queen Anne style cottages throughout the city in the 1880s/90s. They are recognizable by their similar characteristics: 1.5 story, gable end facing the street, two narrow second story windows above the first floor bay window, a side porch, and decorative millwork on the upper story in the gable. This millwork is diamond cut shingles and criss-crossing patterns of applied stickwork. Many of these houses were built for about $900. There are about 50 of these houses throughout Burlington. (For reference: see the “Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods, Vol. III).

A John Roberts house on North Winooski Avenue in the Old North End of Burlington, VT. #presinpink

A photo posted by Preservation in Pink / Kaitlin (@presinpink) on

 

A slightly less noticeable John Roberts house in the Old North End of Burlington, VT. #presinpink

A photo posted by Preservation in Pink / Kaitlin (@presinpink) on

The houses have been altered over the years as you can see in the examples I’ve shared. The bay windows are replaced or the two windows on the upper story are replaced with one window. The porches have been enclosed. The details is painted to match the rest of the house, rendering the tell-tale gable details more difficult to spot.

The same, but different. Can you spot it? #presinpink

A photo posted by Preservation in Pink / Kaitlin (@presinpink) on

Looking at the above photo, some of you noticed that these three houses are very similar. Correct! In fact, because  of the alterations, I had to step back from the sidewalk to notice that all three are John Roberts houses. The far left has been covered in vinyl (see photo below). The middle retains the most integrity. the house on the right has replaced the gable window, and converted the porch window to a door, allowing for an additional entrance.

It’s an interesting (albeit sometimes sad) game of comparison and contrast. And it makes you wonder why owners choose to remove some details and not others, why particular windows were replaced. Observing these John Roberts houses truly shows what can happen to buildings over time if craftsmanship is not maintained and respected. Thankfully many of the John Roberts houses are mostly intact. 

And there are 50! Guess I’ll be out there searching for others – some good running entertainment. Do you know of any? If you leave them in the comments, and I’ll be sure to go take a look!

61 Summit Street, Burlington, VT

Interested in a beautiful house tour? Hang around with preservationists and you’ll have the privilege of touring the best places. Last Friday, the UVM HP Alumni Association visited the Wells House in Burlington, Vermont – an 1892 Queen Anne residence once home to Edward Wells, then the Delta Psi Fraternity and soon to be the UVM Alumni Association. I’d be wanting to view this house since I moved to Burlington in 2009 – it only took 5.5 years! Visit the UVM Historic Preservation Alumni blog to read more about this house and see additional photos.

Second floor stairwell.

Second floor stairwell, as the sun set. 

Second floor bedroom.

Second floor bedroom.

#ihavethisthingwithceilings

#ihavethisthingwithceilings

Trusses over pocket doors.

Trusses over pocket doors.

As an alumni association, we’re interested to know what your graduate program does. What events do you host? Tours? What would you hope to get out an alumni association? And, are you a preservationist or a friend of preservationists? You can join the UVM HP Alumni Association. We’re working hard to get events off the ground, from house tours to happy hours and much more. Spread the word. Thank you!

Abandoned Vermont: Hubbardton Church

The shore of Lake Bomoseen is a popular summer camp area in Vermont. Up here, “summer camp” is like “summer cottage” or “beach house” as opposed to kids’ “summer camp”. The terminology threw me at first, since I grew up on the ocean, not a lake. Historic districts and houses line Vermont Route 30 (sitting practically on the road in some places!) and winding roads around the lake. This 1925 church appears on the map as the Hubbardton Congregational Church, but a lack of signage and unsuccessful searching gives me few answers to its fate. The church appears to be used as only storage.

View from the across the street.

View from the across the street. You can see how close it sits on the highway.

Beautiful Queen Anne windows.

Beautiful Queen Anne windows that remain in good condition.

Belfry.

Belfry.

Boarded up and not in use.

Boarded up and not in use, this is the front entrance.

Absestos siding covers shingles underneath, which would be more fitting for its Queen Anne details.

Asbestos siding covers shingles underneath, which would be more fitting for its Queen Anne details.

South elevation. View from the grass parking area.

South elevation. View from the grass parking area.

This side of the roof is in need of repair.

This side of the roof is in need of repair.

North elevation.

North elevation.

I could only see in the window by holding the camera above my head.

I could only see in the window by holding the camera above my head.

Rural Vermont is filled with small, wood-frame white churches. While some remain in service and others have been converted to alternative uses, there are many with the same fate as this Hubbardton Church. How can we help these buildings? Those of you in rural areas, what solutions have you seen?

Click images for larger files and to zoom in. 

Preservation Photos #93

A house in East Burke, VT. I'd call it Greek Revival in the transition stage to Queen Anne - Greek Revival for the door and window surrounds. Queen Anne for the vergeboard and 6/1 windows. Anyone else?

Preservation Photos #85

An 1896 schoolhouse in East Poultney, VT.

The schoolhouse faces the East Poultney Village Green. To listen to part of the East Poultney walking audio tour, click here and then click on the “1896 schoolhouse.”  The short audio clip (2:23) discusses the context of the building’s history and architecture. The schoolhouse functioned as a school until 1966.  What a great online resource! Download the audio clips to take them on the go.